Car Accident Lawsuit Deadlines

Most people will experience a car accident during their lifetime, whether as a witness or as a victim. In 2015, more than 4 million people were injured in car accidents, costing more than $65 billion worldwide. Almost 300,000 of those were in the United States, totaling nearly $30 billion. Depending on the severity of your accident, the last thing on your mind might be suing your insurance company, or that of the other driver if another car was involved. However, you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit, called a statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is set by the state where you live. State law dictates how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit, after which time you have no legal grounds for compensation. While you do have a time limit placed on your lawsuit, the clock doesn’t start until you realize you’ve suffered harm and fully understand how it could affect you. This is called the discovery of harm rule. For example, let’s say the car accident caused a slight muscle tear your doctor was unable to detect or unwilling to investigate. Over time, the damage worsened until it caused you constant pain. You go back to another physician, who determines you had a muscle tear that allowed bacterial growth in the tissue. Because you will need antibiotics, and, potentially physical therapy to repair the damaged tissue, you can then begin to pursue legal action to ensure your health care is fully covered. In a worst-case scenario, that bacterial growth might become so toxic that it causes necrotic damage in the leg, meaning your doctor must amputate. If your job is highly physical in nature, you will then be required to go on permanent disability. In cases like these, it’s imperative that you have sufficient funds to cover your cost of living if you can no longer work.

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is 2 years from the date of injury or from the time of discovery of harm. However, if your claim is against a government body, such as a city, state, or agency, you must file within 6 months.

If you’re ready to pursue a personal injury claim, make sure you have experienced legal representation. Contact us to speak with a Philadelphia personal injury attorney for a free consultation today!